Then the seven years of plenty which were in the land of Egypt ended, and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. (Genesis 41:53-54)
More than the years of plenty, the years of famine validated Joseph in the eyes of the Egyptians. As the famine swept across the region, including Canaan, only Egypt was prepared for the crisis and only because God’s man was in the right place at the right time. Joseph had made sure there was more than enough bread and had instituted policies that would compel everyone to come to him in order to obtain it. When the people cried for bread, they were told, “Go to Joseph.” Initially the grain was sold only to Egyptians but as the famine set in, the people of the world were also coming to Joseph for sustenance (Genesis 41:57).
There are two important points to be noted by this. First, God had orchestrated events whereby the world was more or less forced to come to His servant to obtain their daily bread. Looking at this prophetically, there will be a time when those of the world will have no choice but to come to God’s people for answers. When all of man’s institutions and industries have failed (Hebrews 12), men will look for something that is sound and true. In that time, it will be critical for God’s people to be equipped and prepared to receive them.
Secondly, being able to sell grain to a hungry world, Egypt amassed great wealth — which also factored into God’s plan for His people. Many years later, when Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, the Bible says that Israel “plundered the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:35-36). In other words, they didn’t flee Egypt with only the clothes on their backs; they marched out of Egypt in orderly fashion with the wealth of Egypt in their hands. Thus it is written:
“The sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22)
It may seem as if the wicked proper but it is only for a season. God has always and will always look out for His people and meet their daily needs. Let us continue to be faithful to Him in the times of plenty and the times of lack, knowing that He will never forsake us nor allow our descendants to beg for bread.
Blessings and Shalom,